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Why fear is good

Trying something new can be daunting. Trying something new, somewhere new can be even more so. Trying something new, somewhere new, with loads of other new people… “OK maybe I won’t bother afterall”.

We all know the feeling of seeing something you’d really love to do, but then letting the voice in our head talk us out of it. Why do we do it to ourselves? Why do we make a stick to beat ourselves with when it comes to talking ourselves out of doing something we think we’d enjoy, if only we gave ourselves a chance to bloody try it!

Let me show you some words I’ve collected from past attendees of my classes. I asked some attendees did they have any worries or fears before the workshop. Here’s a couple of responses...

  • “Before the workshop I was worried about being out of my comfort zone” Janine
  • “Before this workshop I hadn't even managed to make a friendship bracelet before” Ayesha
  • “Before the workshop I was worried it would be way too complicated and I wouldn't be able to do it” Annie
  • “I was worried I wouldn't be able to keep up” Shona
  • “I was worried I was not going to enjoy it as I don’t consider myself a patient person” Katerina
  • “I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with others or that I just wouldn’t be able to make the ring at all!“ Sarah

And my favourite of all for the complete honesty…

  • “Before the workshop I had loads of worries. That it was a new thing I'd never done before. That I'd be rubbish at it. That I'd really struggle to use all the tools. That my ring wouldn't look anything like it was supposed to.” Jess

How does it feel to see those real life fears written down? Have any of these fears put you off doing something you wanted to try in the past? If you’re thinking “yeah some of those are sounding pretty familiar”, then here’s what the very same people said at the end of their workshop...

  • “I felt so blimmin proud! This gave me a proper confidence boost to see that 'I can do it’!” Janine
  • “I felt so proud! I'm loving how impressed people are that I made it.” Ayesha
  • “I felt so happy with what I'd created and loved learning a new skill.” Annie
  • “At the end of the workshop I felt disbelief to be honest! Really proud of myself.” Shona
  • “I felt euphoric!” Katerina
  • “I am so pleased with how my ring turned out! I almost can’t quite believe it” Sarah

And finally back to Jess…

  • “At the end of it I felt proper proud! I keep looking at my finger if I made that?!”

Look at the difference in emotion either side of the leap of faith of trying something new! Fear or worry around the unknown is completely normal. A kind of self protection to make sure you don’t end up in danger physically or emotionally. The trick is to think of fear as advice based on a bank of experiences that is always expanding. It’s there to help you make decisions, but it only does so based on the information it currently has. It’s an advisor, not the decider and the more you flex the discomfort, the more comfortable you’ll feel in it!

So next time you’re thinking of something you’d like to try whether that be attending a creative workshop, starting a new hobby (I decided to teach myself guitar this year at 29!), visiting someplace new, or whatever fires up a little fear inside you. When that niggling voice inside your head raises it’s voice (which it will) thank it for its concern and tell it you’ll report back after, to see whether or not it was in fact right to be worried.

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Thoughts on Creativity - Why fear is good

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